Smoking and Fertility in Females: How Smoking Affects Your Chances of Pregnancy
We all know by now that smoking cigarettes has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, including (but not limited to) respiratory disease, lung cancer, and throat cancer. Researchers have also long spoken out about the dangers to children posed by things like second-hand smoke and smoking while pregnant.
Despite the known risks of smoking and the numerous benefits of quitting, many women will only quit only after pregnancy is confirmed and they are forced to stop for the baby’s sake. What many such women fail to realize, however, is that continuing to smoke could be contributing to their struggles with infertility.
Fertility Health Problems Posed by Smoking
Does smoking cause infertility in females? The answer isn’t a clear “yes” or “no,” but medical studies have shown that women who smoke are 60% more likely to struggle with infertility than nonsmokers. There are a number of links between smoking and reproductive issues that make it difficult for the body to achieve or support pregnancy.
Smoking and Ovulation: Egg Quantity and Quality
In research studies, smoking has been found to disrupt normal ovarian function, reducing the concentrations of key female hormones and reducing the number of mature eggs that can be fertilized. It introduces toxic substances to a woman’s ovaries that can kill the eggs and reduce their overall number. In fact, women who smoke tend to enter menopause earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.
Even if these substances don’t kill the eggs, they can reduce overall egg quality and cause them to develop abnormally if fertilized. This reduction in quality can make it even more difficult for doctors to retrieve healthy eggs for in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Complications: Ectopic Pregnancy
One of the most concerning aspects of how smoking affects women’s reproduction systems is that it increases the risk of a serious complication known as ectopic pregnancy. This type of pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus, most commonly in one of the fallopian tubes. As a result, the fertilized egg cannot survive and the pregnancy cannot continue, as any growth could burst the fallopian tube or damage other tissues.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the more a woman smokes before conception, the more likely she is to develop an ectopic pregnancy. Quitting well ahead of trying to get pregnant is the best way to actively reduce this risk.
How Much Smoking Is Too Much?
While it can be easy to justify the amount you smoke (“at least it’s not a pack a day!”), even a minimal amount of smoking can be damaging. A study of over 50 years of smoking data found that even one cigarette a day was enough to raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, and other research has shown negative impacts on fertility even in women who said they only smoked a few cigarettes per day.
How Long After I Quit Smoking Can I Get Pregnant?
Fortunately, fertility has been shown to rebound after a woman quits smoking. In fact, research has shown that women quit smoking prior IVF treatment had the same likelihood of pregnancy as those who had never smoked.
Although each woman’s timeline is different, fertility begins returning to normal very quickly after quitting smoking. The process of egg maturation takes roughly three months, so you may wish to wait at least three months before you start trying to get pregnant again. This way, the newly matured eggs will be as healthy as possible.
Because so many women have searched online for answers to this question, we plan to dedicate a full page of our site to it in the near future. If you’d like to learn more about the timing of pregnancy after quitting smoking, please be sure to check back with us!
If You’re Struggling with Infertility, 3 Sisters Surrogacy Can Help
At 3 Sisters Surrogacy, we regularly provide consultations for women and couples dealing with issues of infertility. We’ll work with you step-by-step to identify any possible issues and find ways to control certain factors for improved fertility health. If you’re still unable to get pregnant on your own after making these adjustments, we can also help you explore options like IVF and gestational surrogacy.
Are you having trouble getting pregnant but not sure why? It’s time to get professional insight from the fertility experts at 3 Sisters Surrogacy. Give us a call at (877) 976-9483.